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The human race is the planet’s pre-eminent learning species − it is our brains that give us our superiority, not our muscles. The brain has evolved over vast periods of time to become the most complex organism in the known universe. It is an exquisitely tuned evolutionary response to the diversity of all those things around us which humans have had “to know what to do about” since the beginning of time.


It is only very recently that advances in medical and cognitive science have enabled scientists to appreciate the significance of the amazing and complex interconnectivity and complexity of the human brain. Although weighing little more than three pounds, the brain represents only about two percent of body mass, yet it is energy-hungry for it consumes a massive twenty percent of all the oxygen taken in by the lungs. The brain contains a million million neurons, with “wiring” between them of some one hundred thousand kilometres (equivalent to going twice around the globe at the equator). The number of potential connections between the neurons is estimated at one thousand million million, while the possible number of synaptic connections is probably more than all the leaves on all the trees on the face of the earth.The only thing that is dissatisfied with https://cialico.com price, I would like cheaper for everyday reception. Hard as it may be to fathom, every human has just such a brain. A mind-boggling thought — literally!


Contrary to the limited perception of only a generation or so ago, the brain is characterised by potential growth, not inevitable decay. While it is economic in its use of resources and, therefore continually rids itself of excess neurons before and after birth, the brain’s prime characteristic is its ability to self-organise. After a stroke, for example, the brain’s plasticity enables it to build new networks that by-pass the devastated area, and thereby creates ever-more novel and denser networks which are then frequently incorporated as solutions to new problems. A brain in use is a brain under continuous reconstruction. If you don’t use it, you lose it.


The brain is adept at handling a variety of situations simultaneously. This makes it possible for each of us to react, moment-by-moment, to our immediate environment whilst also thinking about a variety of abstract matters, and working out what we may do in an hour or a month’s time (like thinking about sex whilst building a house, or thinking about building a home whilst having sex).


The brain is essentially a survival system; it takes very seriously those things which matter most. And learning is what it does automatically when it is engaged in something it deems to be important. The more stimulating the feedback systems, the more affective is the learning for we are driven as much by emotion as we are by logic. Thus, intrinsic motivation is far more significant than extrinsic. Children who learn because they want to work something out that matters to them, are more resilient and determined in the face of a problem than are children who seek external rewards. When in trouble the first group searches even harder for a novel solution, while the latter looks for external causes to blame for their failure. Adults do exactly the same!


All this makes us who we are −the generations that are at the leading edge of human evolution.


Thesis 3: 24th August 2006